The basic goal of ultralight backpacking is to go light, fast and far in total comfort with the least amount of effort … be one with the pack … Maximize your enjoyment and reduce the possibility of injury. Ray Jardine, the father of ultralight backpacking, assembled a pack under 10 pounds to comfortably trek the Pacific Crest Trail a decade ago.
But do you need to go far to benefit from a light pack? I have discovered a short backpack to a basecamp, followed by day-hiking and/or fishing is a great way to go. Who says you need to lug a pack 30-40 miles over three days to have a good time?
Three places to go for short backpacks with outstanding day hikes:
- Granite Chief Wilderness – 2.5 miles into the first camp, then day hiking with view of Lake Tahoe over the ridge. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses the area north-south for about 21 miles along the eastern boundary passing through Five Lakes Basin.
- Caribou Wilderness – 5 miles into the basecamp with a nearly flat 10-mile loop day hike around 10 lakes. Bordered by Lassen Volcanic Wilderness, I’ve visited here twice. Read my trip report.
- Mt. Eddy – 3 miles to Upper Deadfalls Lake with a day hike to the top of 9,000-foot Mt. Eddy (only 7 miles from the trailhead). At the top is a spectacular view of 14,000 foot Mt. Shasta, just the the other side of Interstate 5.
Be light. Be safe. Be one with the pack.